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Boko’s ‘breakthrough’ in election rigging claims

Publishing Date : 07 February, 2020

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s revolutionary firebrand President and Advocate, Duma Gideon Boko has abetted his party to make a “breakthrough” - towards the main election rigging case.


Boko, who last week joined the UDC team of attorneys, taking over from lead renowned Counsel Dick Bayford, aided the High Court to triumph in a matter in which UDC’s former candidate in Gantsi North, Noah Salakae sought for the inspection of the election material for his constituency ahead of the petition trials taking place soon. UDC is challenging the recent 2019 General Election results through 15 petitions filed at court against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and election overseer Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

 
With some petitions having been dismissed at High Court recently, the party has forged ahead with appeals at the highest court slated for January 29. In the Salakae matter, BDP and the IEC were vehemently opposing the case to the surprise of many including the Judges who questioned the motive behind the antagonism although they have legal liberty to do so. However, the court through a panel of three High Court Justices; Omphemetse Motumise, Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe and Itumeleng Segopolo, ruled in favour of UDC and Salakae.


The judges, in their ruling, gave the UDC “freeway” to inspect the election material which are kept at the Registrar of High Court as per the law. The meeting in which they were supposed to do inspection of the material however could not bear any fruits this past weekend owing to the UDC attorneys’ absence, the reasons of which are still unclear.


In the Salakae matter ruling, the Judges stated that the UDC has the right to inspect election materials if they have suspicion that they were tampered with or had strong misgivings with regard to the election irregularities of which the outcome may have been swung.
Through its South African Senior Counsel and Advocate Andrew Redding, in opposing the application, the IEC were citing reasons to the effect that the UDC application on inspection was a move and a calculated attack on the integrity of the IEC and that it may open a can of worms.
“Election material are personal and no one should be given access to such a sensitive matter,” the SA Advocate said.  
He also added that it may also move towards invading the privacy of the electorates as their vote can be traced to how they voted in terms of which party and candidates - although it came as a shock to the judges.
On the side of the IEC, BDP attorney Busang Manewe also was unsettled with the proposal by the UDC to want to inspect election materials, arguing that they have no legal basis as the Electoral Act does not provide for such. “No section in the Electoral Act gives such right,” he maintained to court.
Salakae is questioning the Gantsi North constituency results after losing by a margin of 100, by getting 4 717 against John Thiite of the BDP’s 4 893.
Advocate Boko strongly believes the matter may reveal IEC’s election irregularities and confirm UDC’s rigging claims.

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